By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(Aug. 2, 2018) Based on a recommendation from the Ocean Pines Communications Committee, the association board of directors voted 5-0 on Friday to require three town hall meetings per year.
Director Colette Horn, in introducing the motion, said the members consistently appeals for improved communication and more interaction with the board.
“I think there is a call in the community and, I think, from the board itself for this kind of transparency and openness,” she said. “That is one of the main reasons that I would ask us to endorse this recommendation.”
“I’m a big fan of something like this,”association President Doug Parks added. As chairman during board meetings, Parks said he’s a “stickler for the rules. It says ‘public comments.’ It doesn’t say ‘public discussion’ in our resolution for conducting meetings. I know that’s not popular, because we lose an opportunity to share [the back and forth] while we have an audience.”
Parks said recent examples of positive interactions included members of several golf advisory groups contributing to country club renovation plans and residents of Whitetail Sanctuary submitting a recommendation for conversion of the crab pier into a nature preserve.
“It allows us to say, ‘We’re not going to conduct any business’ – it’s not a business meeting, it’s a town hall meeting,” he said. “It affords everybody the opportunity to ask questions and, really, it becomes a vehicle for getting information out there that you wouldn’t normally be able to do when we’re conducting business.”
Director Slobodan Trendic opposed the motion as written, in part because he only received it a day earlier.
“The motion … is not clear enough to state that this is a board town hall meeting,” Trendic said. “That’s the first issue.”
The second, he said, was “town hall meetings, to me, are driven by need.”
“When you have a resolution that basically spells out three town meetings – what if we only need one? What if we need five?” Trendic said. “I’m totally in favor of town hall meetings … I would just rather us recognize the fact that it’s very beneficial to everybody to have a town hall meeting.”
Director Ted Moroney argued “If you don’t hold the board accountable, it’s not going to happen.”
He said the pending subject of a reserve study would be an ideal setting for a town hall meeting, as would approval of a new fiscal year budget.
“I think this is part of being accountable,” Moroney said. “If we don’t set standards … you know what happens, it slides and it just doesn’t occur at all.”
Horn said the need was evident.
“We all talk about transparency. We talk about give and take. Let’s make it a habit,” she said.
Trendic abstained from the vote.